Greek tennis ace Stefanos Tsitsipas refusing to take Covid vaccine unless it becomes mandatory to compete – report
Figures within the ATP Tour have encouraged players to get vaccinated against the potentially deadly virus, as the Delta variant continues to ravage unvaccinated populations across the globe.
While several prominent players including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have thrown their weight behind a vaccine drive within the sport, the 23-year-old Tsitsipas has his reservations.
"No one has told me anything. No one has made it a mandatory thing to be vaccinated," Tsitsipas told US media when asked if he plans on seeking out a vaccine ahead of future tournaments in the United States.
"At some point I will have to, I'm pretty sure about it, but so far it hasn't been mandatory to compete, so I haven't done it, no," he added in advance of the Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Tsitsipas was a finalist in this summer's French Open but was eliminated from Wimbledon in the first round, a result which came soon after he told reporters of his discomfort at living within a Covid-19 'bubble' designed to safeguard player health and protect the tournament as much as possible from infections that could cause postponements and disqualifications.
Objections to the vaccine rollout have been rife in tennis. The world's top player, Novak Djokovic, has previously expressed his hesitancy about the vaccine and stated that he hoped it would not become mandatory for players – and has since refused to be drawn into a debate about his own vaccination status.
Federer and Nadal, though, have no such concerns.
"The only way out of this nightmare is vaccination. Our responsibility as human beings is to accept it," said Nadal recently after revealing that he had received the Pfizer-BioNTech shot.Also on rt.com Emotional Stefanos Tsitsipas breaks down after reaching debut Grand Slam final at Roland-Garros
"I know there is a percentage of people who will suffer from side effects but the effects of the virus are worse," added Nadal.
Federer, meanwhile, also confirmed earlier this year that he has been administered the Pfizer shot.
"Yes, I'm vaccinated. I got the Pfizer," Federer said in May. "I am happy to have been able to do it with all the trips I take.
"Even if I'm staying in Switzerland, I think there are advantages. Above all, I did it for others because I don't want to give it to anyone else, even if I still remain very careful.
"We're very careful with the family and with our friends."Also on rt.com Rugby World Cup winner Toutai Kefu suffers ‘very serious wounds’ as he is stabbed during home invasion